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ozxile

Roar Pro

Joined September 2008

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Roar Pro
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The worst team of Rugby World Cup week one

It’s not too early to start thinking about candidates for the worst team award. I’ll start by nominating referee Romain Poite (FRA), and his assistants Jérôme Garces (FRA) and Wayne Barnes (ENG) – sorry Wayne, it’s a team award – for the worst team in the tournament in week one.

Roar Pro
Roar Pro

Heads must roll in camp Wallaby

It was utter rubbish. Headlines that suggest anything else are risable. The referee was fine. The All Blacks were competent. The Wallabies were good in spots, and overall just rubbish. Simply put, they lack a consistent sense of urgency and it cost them dearly.

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Roar Pro

Springboks great? Not a chance!

The Boks are undefeated in the Tri-Nations, a noteworthy feat at any time. On successive weekends they have beaten the 2nd and 3rd ranked teams, both of which are miles ahead of the rest of the world. But are they, as some have argued in this forum, a great team?

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Roar Pro

Wallabies: fifteen players, but not a team

Roarers have collectively analyzed, and variously moaned about and defended almost every aspect of the Wallabies’ recent games – the one played last week and all recent vintage. I say almost every aspect because we have overlooked one – I’ll argue the most important one.

WNM: I didn’t say he is THE greatest. I’d say he will be regarded as THE greatest by AB fans (after receiving his Knighthood) if he there when they eventually break the drought.

Joshy H: It is a bit rough to have to win it all to be considered great. He only get to play one position after all.

Why Richie McCaw is a great captain

Warren: Where did I make a reference to game day stats?

You are avoiding the issue. Such ratings are never going to be ‘objective’. The point of this post was to suggest just the opposite. Unless you develop and consistently apply some kind of criteria moaning about how poor someone is as a captain (or a player) on the basis of his last match is meaningless. It is not clear why, but you appear to be overly concerned with suggesting a defense for Rocky’s captaincy on grounds where my subjective rating (without reference to any particular match) gave him a decent mark (one of the few).

How well he plays is probably the least important (not unimportant) of the criteria anyway. Switch to one of the other criteria such as communication. One smile or one frown means nothing. However, if you must, how often have you seen him smile, speak to teammates or the ref when he wasn’t irritated about something, or display body language that conveyed something positive? Great communicator? Hardly.

Pardon the reference – I have no reason to assume you are schizophrenic, so if you rate these four on the six criteria it is somewhat likely your rankings are going to give similar relative results. Your relative rankings are meaningful – even if you do not want to think about it that way or admit it. You can validly argue that there is always going to be a seventh (7th) X-factor criterion. However, that is unlikely to make up for a bunch of other shortcomings.

The focus of the post is on why Richie and the others are great captains. However, if you accept that the criteria at least have some intuitively validity, no matter how you ‘rate’ the four individually you will end up with Rocky well behind the other three.

Finally, following on your comment about Richie, whatever happens in 2011 Rocky won’t be around long enough for the makeover.

Why Richie McCaw is a great captain

Warren: So rate him yourself if if you think this is wrong. Perhaps others agree with you.

Why Richie McCaw is a great captain

AdamS, should be the captain, but that is a different post…if the eds approve it.

Winners write history, so why help them?

Hoy, I posted the link to all the stats but the editors took it down. Can’t help. However, I disagree about ‘shellshocked’ and ‘blitzed’ off the field. They held up in the line-outs and scrums and played with some purpose.

The issue that concerns me most is their inability to retain the ball at breakdowns. They have to play their own game, but routinely losing the ball in contact is a blight on that game and totally inexcusable. It would not be a surprise to find out that opposition coaching focuses on tackling the ball when playing them knowing full well they are vulnerable. Maybe a few hours a week with a league coach focusing on ball retention would help them focus on ball retention instead of plowing through one more tackler.

It could have made a big difference on Saturday – kickoffs included.

Winners write history, so why help them?

Scrap the competition for what? Warm up matches against…???

The only major rugby countries in the world that have the luxury of playing lead up matches to the WC against the best and the potential dark horses are in the SH. Even if/when those matches feature a mix of A/B players the alternatives are a step or two down and probably not worth much at all.

Any risk to players from a steady diet of proper competition is easily outweighed by the benefit of games that have more at stake than a domestic club match or a trumped up friendly against PNG or ??? The two tests the Wallabys have played already paid dividends. A glimpse of form from Elsom and AAC that was totally absent all S15 season to start.

If we didn’t have the Tri Nations we’d be subjected to endless whining from Roarers about the lack of proper competition. Sometimes things are just fine the way they are. This is one of them..

Should Tri-Nations be scrapped in World Cup years?

Eben, when I saw the headline I was ready to pitch the idea of switching Cummins to 13 – very pleased to see someone else has given him a thought.

Cummins has size, speed, power, and just enough elusiveness to make him a bona fide prospect at 13. Add in his no-nonsense approach (overlooking the mane) – ‘shut-up and play’ attitude, willingness to tackle, chase and ruck, and you have a potential winner. I cannot say that I’ve ever seen him pass (or pass poorly), but he seems talented enough to notice when his options have evaporated. It would not surprise that given a chance he would make a real fist of the opportunity.

Its not likely to happen for him on the wing.

Dozen remedies for Wallabies' centre problem

Rocky, your mates may be the ‘best’ players on the team. Bear in mind that 99% of all foreign players in the US who come from a Top 10 rugby nation think that they are the best players on the team. Most (not all) didn’t rate before they arrived but find the accent works wonders for their credibility. They are, without exception, great tacticians, shadow captains/coaches and laws experts. Irrespective of reality the rugby they played was a much higher standard, e.g., ‘The standard is apparently similar to 5th grade school boy teams (15-16 year olds)’. This is typical nonsense, unless…did they join a women’s team? If they are average before they arrive they are still average – or they would be playing A/B grade club rugby at home.

The real issue with the standard of play in the US remains coaching. Even the best coaches aren’t much good and on average coaching is simply incompetent. You cannot become an artist by taking an art class and a couple coaching courses don’t make a coach.

Few of those coaching ever had a good coach themselves. The system, such as it is, remains an ‘incestuous’ mess at all levels. Systemic incompetence does little for development. Even with rising numbers the players coming through remain clueless. The ones who happen to have played in high school have a little more than their peers. However, with few exceptions their development stagnates when they move to collegiate or club rugby. Their teammates are novices and the coaching (even where somewhat competent) is spread so thin. 18 year old players with no real business coaching anyone end up ‘coaching’ their teammates.

You can be 100% certain that your mates are now ‘coaching’ their teammates. Do you think they should be coaching anyone?

IRB REPORT 2010 Part 2 of 6 – NACRA.

Giteau at #9? Rubbish.

Am I the only one that remembers just how badly he played when he was tried at #9? It is one thing to step in and do the job when the starting #9 is trapped in a ruck – quite another to start in that position and stay there for 80 minutes. He is not a #9. He regularly lost focus on the #9’s primary responsibilities, showed up too late to deliver quick ball, ran far too much to be effective, and created more problems than he stayed around to solve. Giteau went missing more often than Moore shows up at OC. That all occurred when his stock was high and he may actually have had a reasonably good attitude about it. Not now.

If Giteau has what it takes to be a #9 now, he also has what it takes to lose his attitude and play effectively at 10, 12 or 15. It isn’t going to happen. Anyone who seriously thinks this is plausible has not been watching him strut his ego for the last 12 months. Without his stellar (albeit rapidly fading) past he would have been dropped long ago – from the Brumbies and the Wallabies.

It's time to bid adieu to Matt Giteau

PJ,

Agreed. I am also a long time Brumbies supporter. The use of ‘abomination’ seems apt – at least for their performance thus far. Giteau is not the only problem but his ego is the catalyst for everything else. Giteau has his blind supporters and you will likely hear from them identifying bits of brilliance and ignoring the overall mess. The Brumbies scored 4 tries against the Reds. How many would they have scored with a competent captain, a real 5/8 and less selfish play from Giteau playing anywhere else?

Whatever his motives, Giteau’s play at best reflects a lack of trust in or a total disregard of the skills of his teammates. At worst it is egocentrism as pathology. While I agree with your suggested line up changes, I would also agree to almost anything that leaves Giteau off the team completely.

Bring back Bernie!

It's time to bid adieu to Matt Giteau

Excellent assessment Stillmissit. Nothing more to read here.

Wallabies' midweek debacle under microscope

It appears that Mealamu may actually be pulling Moody’s collar to line up his target ‘target’. Then again maybe that is an attempt to push himself away? Probably not.

What is the point of comparing this to Hartley? Bad day at the office for both.

The All Blacks deserve special treatment

Darren, thank you for putting this in the red column here on the Roar.

After being ignored in my blue column post on Monday, and repeatedly dismissed for my comments referring to the same issue on Brett McKay’s post it is a relief to see that someone else thought the same. Substantiating the obvious with Carter’s comment about maintaining their No 1 ranking by thinking outside of the square, and the quote ‘With our game plan, we like to keep things pretty fresh by tweaking little things’ made my day. Donnelly’s comment, ‘It’s a pretty special skill to be able to do that kick,’ – is spot on!

Clearly the ABs think ‘little’ details count – and produce points on the board. If we cannot even discern them, or worse, refuse to acknowledge the obvious – however subtle – we deserve to continue to lose.

Carter to put the boot into Wallabies

Colin, you say ‘ There isn’t a special way that Carter kicks it compared to someone like Flood or Wilkinson, or anyone in fact.’ Really? I suppose such blanket assessments apply to Cooper’s passing, or Shane Williams’ sidestepping or… whatever.

Not having a look, let alone studying and comparing, is your choice. We will have to agree to disagree – at least until next weekend.

Wallabies get a lesson on the little things in rugby

Ben, yes I did. They were not too flash. However this really is different.

There are many ways to screw up a KO by both receiving and kicking teams. I noted that the Boks uncharacteristically had some of the same problems and did not adjust either. You cannot prepare for something if you don’t understand what is happening. Much of the problem with the KOs last week was that the receivers were rarely in the correct place. If the ball travels unpredictably it is always going to be easier for the kicking side going forward to adjust and they did leaving the Wallabies looking clueless. It is the way Carter is kicking it. Even in a covered stadium he was able to deliver this strange ball – sort of like a slow, curving change up in baseball.

You seem ready to dismiss this rather quickly. If you did not notice this take a few minutes to study Carter’s KOs in the 2nd Bok’s test and last week. If we don’t adjust to the correct issue we are going to have the same problems this coming week no matter how much they work on it.

Wallabies get a lesson on the little things in rugby

Good points Brett, details count and add up quickly against the ABs and Boks.

There are, however, also some big points that surprisingly seem to elude the coaches and the players. The KOs were abysmal but I don’t see it as just poor execution or lack of focus. I posted a note earlier pointing out that Carter has changed the way he kicks off. I will not repeat it here.

This change needs to be addressed by the coaching staff. The ABs had the same problem in the second test. They uncharacteristically missed the ball completely on two occasions because of the strange, lazy curving trajectory Carter is getting on the ball with his new/refined approach.

The first time the ball sailed over the Bok’s receivers and Reid (?) ran though on it I thought it looked different. Stopped the video and went back to look at it and there it was. It isn’t even subtle. Even my wife could see it. As best I can recall he continued all through the match on Saturday night and we never did adjust.

Talk about ‘dropping the ball.’

Another thing, how many times do the ABs have to pass the ball from KOs back to McCaw before someone notices the pattern and couple of defenders are set up to deal with him? A couple of runners back from the OS line with slightly different timing to run through at pace would at least put some pressure on behind the ABs’ gain line.

Wallabies get a lesson on the little things in rugby

It is generally considered to be inappropriate to refer to alleged crimes as anything more than alleged. Do you or anyone know why the charges were dropped? If not, talking about it as if he would have automatically been convicted is irresponsible.

Cooper the meat in the sandwich

And your point about kicking is,,,?

Wallabies really need a specialist goal kicker

Thelma, absolutely correct. Teams win games when everyone does their part – sometimes even that isn’t enough. The whole system has to work and discounting the importance of any contribution appears to suggest that those who do so don’t understand the game – not true for contributers here but it does look like it at times.

Every team and individual flaw has an impact. Missed tackles, dropped balls, bad lineout throws, dropped scrums…but such flaws are often lost in the run of the game. No goal kicker ever won/lost a game by themselves. Unfortunately for kickers the immediate impact of their flawed effort is palpable in terms of points, and team perceptions of how things are going. A kick made at any time means points and almost always gives the team an important psychological boost.

Wallabies really need a specialist goal kicker

MB, Scotland was not much to look at during Paterson’s run. However, the team knew that he would not let them down if they got anywhere near kicking range. Did he improve their performance? I’d say that he did. If you recall any of their matches during that time frame they battled on knowing that it was always going to be worth it to attack and get at least within kicking range. Patterson by himself could not improve the others but he gave them a legitimate sense of purpose so they did not give up.

The Wallabies have systemic flaws that have plagued them for some time. However, suggesting that kicking is not a high priority is akin to suggesting that the elastic in their shorts isn’t something to worry about. The fact that no one thought Giteau would miss the sitter in the England test speaks well for him generally, but the worry that such things can happen at all is highly problematic. The Wallabies had the match won with that kick – not – but that wasn’t the only one and best case scenario would have been that it did not matter at that point. But it did. Details count – including those from the first minute of the game and players and particularly kickers at the test level need to get a grip on that much more so than the current Wallabies. Each missed tackle, inane penalty, dropped ball has repercussions, psychologically and often in terms of points. Unfortunately for kickers the world is focused on them when they go about their bit of business. A hooker who cannot consistently deliver a ball at lineouts is just as much a liability but the spotlight shifts much more quickly.

Scottish rugby hasn’t been much to watch in recent years, but both Patterson and Parks (an Aussie) have both been instrumental in providing a lot of points, winning kicks and hope. A more efficient goal kicker, however boring, would be a blessing – keeping the scoreboard ticking over right from the beginning is just as important as making that last match winner. That match winning opportunity isn’t even there in most cases because the kicking efficiency isn’t there throughout the match.

Between Giteau, Cooper, O’conner, Beale, etc. we have the kicking talent. I’m not convinced that they are sufficiently ‘professional’ about their obligation when given the responsibility.

Wallabies really need a specialist goal kicker

For absolute, metronomic consistency I believe the stats would support Scotland’s Chris Paterson as the best ‘test’ match kicker of recent years. I am not sure about really long range (perhaps someone else had a go), but on the Wikipedia Chris Paterson site the following indicates he was 100% for almost a year – ‘Paterson successfully kicked 36 consecutive goals for Scotland between 11 August 2007 and 7 June 2008, not missing a single attempt during the 2007 Rugby World Cup or the 2008 Six Nations Championship.’ His recent test record has been skimpy due to relegation to the bench. His teammate Dan Parks is also no slouch but hardly in Paterson’s league.

Apparently it can be done – even in the wet.

Wallabies really need a specialist goal kicker

If we must use AAC at fullback I would like to see the following lineup in some game – any game will do.
9. Genia
10. Cooper
11. O’Connor
12. Giteau
13. Ioane
14. Hines
15. AAC

What to do with Adam Ashley-Cooper?

WCR

That would be nice. I am the faculty advisor for our university men’s and women’s teams.. Their closest competition is 220 miles away for the women and 140 miles for the men. $$ is a huge issue.

How powerful could American rugby be?

WCR,

Fair enough, but 5 NCAA programs in different divisions does not mean much. There is no provision to provide any particular women’s sport. I work at a Division 1 university. We just started a women’s soccer team to meet Title IX requirements. They could have taken almost anything – including rugby which already has a 33 year history here.

aljay’s point was that the NCAA does not allow scholarships. They have no control if you are not part of their system. The 5 women’s programs could probably have 30 women on scholarship if they had the $$. If there is a limit you just throw in some more on academic scholarships. You can have as many as you can pay for – with or without NCAA permission – in any sport.

Most schools cannot afford the sports they have right now. They have trouble earning a penny from so-called ‘minor’ sports, i.e., anything but football and basketball. Even football and basketball are problematic for all but the top 100 schools. Regardless, they find numerous ways to subsidize all of them so they can say they have full programs that qualify them for membership in the conferences they play football/basketball in.

How powerful could American rugby be?

aljay;

The NCAA has absolutely nothing to do with US Rugby. If I have enough $$ I can underwrite a team of 100 players at any school I choose. No regulation at all as long as they qualify for academic admission. They can all be foreigners as well. The only real issue is age and prior post-secondary education.

So far no one has stepped up with the money.

How powerful could American rugby be?